Water users on the north coast are facing the prospect of significant price hikes in the future.
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal has released its draft report on prices for the next three years.
IPART chief executive officer, Jim Cox, says local users of unregulated rivers in the region can expect a rise of 31 percent.
He says for regulated rivers the suggested hike is 73 percent.
“I think the issue in the North Coast, this is particularly true for the regulated rivers… there’s not very many users for the water,” Mr Cox said.
“So there is a lot of infrastructure that’s not servicing very much use, so it does tend to be expensive,” he said.
“We’re adopting a slightly different approach to groundwater pricing,” Mr Cox said.
“The issue there is that often groundwater does go between separate valleys, so valley-by-valley pricing doesn’t work out so well… so what we’ve done is to have a common groundwater price for the coastal valleys.”